How retailers are getting the most from the Christmas sales this year

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have moved from a UK sales oddity to a fully embraced retail opportunity. For most independent retailers the build-up to Black Friday marks the starting point of the Christmas sales period, right through to the New Year’s sales.

The average UK shopper is expected to spend around 11% on Black Friday this year as they search for festive bargains. Yet, almost two-third of UK adults expect to spend less this Christmas overall than in 2022.

With high inflation and the cost of living crisis still having an impact on shoppers’ behaviour, businesses need to stand out to their consumer base and demonstrate the value gained through shopping with them. Here’s some ways to do that…

Get social: Meet your customers where they shop

Whether businesses are bricks and mortar based, online or a mix of both it’s likely that the online world will be a touchpoint along the customer purchasing journey regardless of whether they prefer to buy online or in-store. Websites, marketplaces and social media platform are a key part of merchants being able get their sales message out to a larger customer base. Approximately 55m UK adults have a social media account and, with social media platforms designed to be mobile-friendly too, they are always at hand. Owning and actively updating your business’ social media page is a clear shortcut into consumer consciousness that will help drive both brand awareness and sales.

Plan posts and engagement

Planning social media posts in advance and posting consistently during the final months of this year is a cost-effective way of getting your message out there. It’s also an opportunity to build brand awareness around your business as well as your special offers for the busiest shopping period of the year. If you have an eCommerce website ensure it’s up to date and product descriptions are accurate to maximize your appeal. The ability to then utilise pay by link solutions on pages, and particularly on features like Instagram stories, encourages that journey towards checkout finality.

Live Shopping

With consumers’ attention span sitting at just 8 seconds, live shopping’s immersive value keeps viewers engaged and increases sale conversions. Live shopping creates real time broadcasting from stores, turning viewers into customers. The approach allows businesses promote their products or services while engaging with their customers in real-time. Online shoppers could browse and engage through chat and comment functionality without leaving the platform.

Social Media is the perfect platform for independent retailers to implement the approach and the end of year sales period is the ideal time to do it. Retailers are benefitting from this interactive and engaging way of allowing customers shop their available products to purchase instore and online. Differentiate your business with regular live streams offering customers the opportunity to browse your sales and offering.

Bundle offers: Offer customers more value for buying more

The cost of living crisis is a growing financial concern to British consumers. This has translated to more prudent spending and a more informed search for value. Bundling your deals together can help drive more sales by increasing customer savings if they feel they are getting a better deal for buying more. If you have an eCommerce site or sell through an online marketplace, higher value purchases could also be rewarded with free shipping.

Reward your regulars: Build lasting customer relationships

Christmas and end of year sales are an ideal time to gain new customers. However, businesses are also using it to support their regulars with exclusive deals and offerings just for them. Given the benefits of word of mouth recommendations, regulars should certainly feel they are getting the white-gloved treatment for being recurring shoppers. It also reduces the chances of losing their custom to competitors during the sales period.

The festive sales as a stepping stone to ongoing B2C relationships

Given how fresh an idea Black Friday is this side of the pond, its full potential is only now being realized by independent businesses as they move away from viewing it as a one-off, isolated sales event. Offering time sensitive discounts on their next purchases can help drive Christmas season sales and develop positive customer relations.

Along with follow-up offers, more prolonged business value also comes from businesses building relationships through post-sales support and engagement. Besides this, it can cut back on the potential for any after sales issues. With buyer regret growing as a reason for friendly fraud chargeback disputes, as well as customers deciding to bring products back for a refund, having a clear engagement channel and support can help reduce the potential for unnecessary returns. This turns a post-purchase hindrance into a customer touchpoint for retailers.

Make payments convenient: Match customer expectations

98% of customers now use some form of digital payment option. The number of payment avenues available for customers has heightened customer expectation when it comes to completing a purchase and how they view businesses with card acceptance options. Shoppers view businesses with card payment facilities as modern and customer-centric. Customers expect businesses to offer payment experiences that meets their preference and businesses have more payment options than ever before with new solutions complimenting in-store POS card terminal transactions and payment gateways for online payments.

Businesses can take payments over the phone through Virtual Terminals or by using the MOTO option on their card terminal with customers buying over the phone and picking up in store – a customer journey that has grown in popularity since the pandemic. Pay-by-link is also growing popular with consumers paying through a secure link or by scanning a QR code.

Having card acceptance payment options and understanding how to benefit from them, through loyalty schemes and accepting gift cards can boost business’ bottom-line during the busy sales season.

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